The issues plaguing the development of science in Africa took centre stage as Nigeria joined 12 other countries for the first edition of the Africa Science Week held recently. The deliberations at the inaugural edition of the event centred on innovation and health awareness, amongst other issues. As part of activities marking this event, a cancer/hepatitis awareness walk was held in Ikeja, Lagos. The cancer/ hepatitis awareness featured a procession which saw the participants staging a walk to the General Hospital in Ikeja, as well as through the busy Computer Village and Bank Anthony Road, both in Ikeja.
During the walk, the participants engaged in spreading awareness about the need, and how, to prevent the spread of cancer and hepatitis amongst Nigerians.
Speaking on the health awareness initiative, Dr. Samuel Sojinu, Team Lead for the Nigeria leg of the Africa Science Week and also a lecturer with the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, stated that it was necessary to bring attention to the increasing cases of cancer and hepatitis. He advised individuals to go for regular medical check-up and quit habits such as smoking and the intake of hard drugs which may trigger unwanted diseases.
Nigeria’s edition of the Africa Science Week is the first of a 13-country series. Looking to the future, the NEF will expand the reach of its Africa Science Week to 30 countries in 2018 and all 54 by 2020. The Africa Science Week initiative is the result of a partnership between the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) and Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Beyond numbers, the NEF hopes that Africa Science Week will grow to include major activities in schools and universities, and result in concrete collaborations between the research community and private sector. In line with the NEF’s Dakar Declaration, issued at the first biennial NEF Global Gathering, held in Dakar, Senegal in March 2016, Africa Science Week will place public engagement at the heart of advancing Africa’s scientific agenda. The next edition of the NEF Global Gathering will be held in Kigali in March 2018 under the patronage of H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. Africa Science Week is funded by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Google and local sponsors in each country.